As the UK population continues to grow, the most vulnerable groups in society are needing more support than ever — through the provision of affordable housing, but also strong, local communities.
The number of people with complex care needs is projected to rise steeply in the next 20 years.
Reports indicate the number of households headed up by someone aged 65 plus will increase by 54% by 2041, and those of disabled older people, by 67% between 2015 and 2040.
Amid the rising costs of rent, providing affordable housing is crucial. The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee recently stated that there’s “compelling evidence that England needs at least 90,000 net additional social rent homes a year,” while stressing the urgent need for government intervention and extra grant funding.
CBRE Investment Management is one business helping to provide solutions. Their Affordable Housing Fund uses investments to create more affordable homes in areas of need — as well as providing a financial return for the investor.
The Lewisham development
Lewisham in south-east London is going through a major regeneration, but as new buildings go up, so too do property and rental prices. Here, there are over 10,000 people on the local council’s Housing Register, needing a home.
Two new developments in the town centre have created homes for people on benefits and low income. The apartments offer two bedrooms, an en-suite, kitchen and open living area.
For many residents, the first time they view their new home, it’s an emotional experience.
“I remember one woman that came in who’d been living in temporary accommodation for about 10 years,” says Kate Donovan, Area Manager for the Pinnacle Group. “She literally hugged me; then she hugged the developer; and then she hugged the property manager, and continued to dance around the property.”
“Some of our residents have come straight from the care system, so they need a lot of support,” she adds. “There can be issues around isolation, so we make sure that they’d want to feel part of the community, that they know their neighbour, and feel that if they’re ever in trouble, they can go and speak to their neighbour or can come and speak to us.”
It is an exciting moment for those who have been moving from one accommodation to another for years, and now crave stability and community.
“Accommodation can be a really mixed bag,” Kate explains. “There are often repair issues, issues of damp and mould, so when residents come in and see our flats, they can’t believe they’re being offered such a standard of accommodation. They really can’t believe they can afford it.”
“I’ve been in social housing now for about 30 years, and it’s such a fantastic feeling to know that you’re letting properties to people for whom it will make such a difference to their lives.”
Homes fit for the future
Anna Xu, the Affordable Housing Portfolio and Impact Manager at CBRE Investment Management, reveals there’s now greater focus on development projects, due to the effects of our changing climate. New homes now need to be resilient.
“When we first started, the portfolio was targeting only about 30% developments, because developments take time, you need to build them, and they’re not income-producing straight away. However, with the climate agenda being so urgent, we’ve realised that actually we do need to build new homes; because that way we can shape the specification. We can ensure that these assets are fit for the future.”
Pinnacle’s Affordable Housing Fund aims to tackle the housing crisis, by building homes that people want to stay in for many years, where they can put down roots.
“What we’re doing is creating homes and a sense of community,” explains Hannah Marshall, CIO, UK Direct Real Estate for CBRE Investment Management, “where those residents and families want to stay for the long-term. From an investors perspective, you’re generating a very stable cash flow, because those families don’t want to leave. And that’s because they’re nice homes, nice communities and nice environments to live in.”
CBRE now has around 2,000 homes around the UK, and is ensuring standards are met through a social impact framework, as well as quarterly reports.
This film is paid for and controlled by CBRE Investment Management. It is produced by the ITN Business commercial team and is not created by ITN news staff journalists.